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Der Ring das Nibelungen Complete?


Vaderbait1
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Finding classical music is always hard, because there are countless recordings and versions floating around.

In doing a search for Der Ring das Nibelungen, you're more likely to find analysis of the story instead of anything about the actual music. If you can find the music, it's usually a five minute version of a section of the greater piece. So what I'm asking is: Where can I find a complete recording (and a good performance) of the four pieces?

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Yes, get the Solti recordings, they're expensive but WELL worth it. They're the ultimate Ring recordings - and I've known people to say that Solti's recording of Gotterdammerung is THE recording of the 20th century.

Der Ring Das Nibelungen - Solti

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I'd recommend going to your local library and seeing if it has a recording or two that you can check out. You might be surprised at what your local library has access to. It might cost you a few bucks, but considering that the Solti recording mentioned above is over $150 USD, would it be worth spending the few bucks to see if you liked it before you bought it?

Also, consider DVDs. I worked at a classical radio station for ten years and never "got" opera when we aired it, but when I saw an opera, it was a different story.

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The Solti recording is stunning indeed. Try to look for it on ebay, you can get much cheaper (I got mine for 45 euro). Karajan's recording I have not heard in full, but I did like what I heard, although I'd give Solti the edge (I know Marian disagrees with this, and he is much more knowledgable in these matters than I am). The Levine recording is much cheaper, and although not as good as those two, the price might justify the purchase. I have not heard Bohm's recording,

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I don't know if it's an American thing, but 'round these parts, the Solti recording is generally recommended as the best one. I disagree, from what I've heard (bits here and there, plenty of the big passages), it's VERY much overrated. It goes for all bombast and no structure, with little concept of a greater arc. In my opinion, the Karajan cycle is much better, and very much recommended. For a more "excited" performance, which yet feels much more consistent than the Solti, and also a cheaper price, the Böhm recording live from Bayreuth is excellent as well. It seems a bit weaker than the Karajan in the two heavier operas at the end of the cycle, but Rheingold and particularly Walküre are at least up to par with Karajan's.

I do hope they recorded and will eventually release the Welser-Möst-conducted new stagings at the Vienna State Opera (only a few more months until the Götterdämmerung premiere). Those were outstanding, and could probably keep up with the Böhm.

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I do hope they recorded and will eventually release the Welser-Möst-conducted new stagings at the Vienna State Opera (only a few more months until the Götterdämmerung premiere). Those were outstanding, and could probably keep up with the Böhm.

Thank you for the head's up; I'll keep an eye out for that. I saw him conduct Bruckner's Sixth with the LA Phil and it was the first time that the end of the finale didn't sound like it was tacked on just because that's what Bruckner does. I sat there and thought that they were playing too loud and had nowhere to go when the recall of the first movement would enter, but when they got there, they cranked it up to "eleven" and blew me away. On the down side, I didn't think he was able to get the coda of the first movement to soar like Celibidache.

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Welser-Möst is the only conductor I know of who can conduct Bruckner fast and get away with it very well. Very unlike Celibidache of course, but Thielemann is a close match there - his 7th was amazing, a shame only a recording of the 5th is available so far. All three conductors have (had) a very good sense of acoustic balance though. Most of the time, you get Bruckner played so loudly that even the forte passages are reduced to noise.

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Barenboim Wagner is generally held in high regard. I only have his Holländer and Tannhäuser so far. For the latter, I don't really know any comparisons; the Holländer I disliked at first but came to love. I'm very interested in hearing his Ring, though from what I remember, the casting seemed a bit uneven.

(And just as I'm writing this, the fanfare from Meistersinger is blasting from some TV preview... now followed by Götterdämmerung... :D )

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  • 2 weeks later...

Definitely the Solti recording. The sound is pretty spectacular too, especially on the 2nd to 4th operas. The first opera (Das Rheingold) was recorded in 1956 I believe, and is slightly less crisp than the other three.

However, you really should get the James Levine DVD set too. The Ring is a huge, hefty listen, and it's very easy to get lost and overwhelmed. Remember that Wagner never intended this music to be heard seperately from the visuals. The Levine stage production is spectacular, and more importantly you get to see the story unfold as you hear the music. Great stuff!

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I have wanted a complete DVD of this for some time, so that I could have the visuals, but, more importantly, to have English subtitles. I tried listening to a very old bad audio quality Furtwangler recording of it and follow along with a translation, but was finding it very hard to get through. I think it would help greatly to have the good audio quality, visuals, and a translation that moves with what is happening, instead of you just trying to follow.

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, the Böhm recording live from Bayreuth is excellent as well.

Back in the 70's we lived in Bayreuth and our house was right at the corner of the park to the opera house. It was about a 5 minute walk to the opera house.

The last time I mentioned that to one of our members, in person, we almost had a car wreck.... :)

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Well unfortunately I was in 8-11 year range of my life and just getting started on Williams and film scores. And my parents weren't interested in opera but I do believe, if my memory is correct, it would have been impossible to get tickets.

I can remember sitting on the front steps of our place watching all the people who would stay downtown or come in by train, the railway yard/station was also across the street from the Opera House, walking to the performances.

It was kinda fun watching herds of men in tuxedos and women in gowns walking by one's house.

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Back in the 70's we lived in Bayreuth and our house was right at the corner of the park to the opera house. It was about a 5 minute walk to the opera house.

:eek2:

The wait list can be long, from what I've heard, but from my understanding, everyone can get a ticket if he's on the list in time. So I really should sign up soon...

On the other hand, it's supposedly not too hard (or used to be) to get student tickets right before a performance. Which is fine if you're in the area, but a bit too vague for a lengthy trip.

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:)

Yes that's the same reaction Saxbabe had when I told her I lived next to the opera house, except she was driving a car in downtown Houston, and I was a passenger.

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Well, I heard some of the shorter versions and I really don't see a point in getting the Complete set now. The music is good, but it sounds like the 18 hours or whatever could be condensed down to one. A LOT of repetition and drawn out rising notes.

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That's like saying the Star Wars score can be reduced to the suite. There's a lot of material, development and storytelling in the cycle, even a 4 CD condension cannot even come close to representing that. Also, it's not a continuous single work, it's split into 4 parts, you don't usually listen to the entire thing at once.

It does take some work to appreciate. And seeing it live (of perhaps on DVD) goes a long way in showing "how to listen to it". It's worth it, though, you can listen to it for years, probably decades, and still be surprised and amazed by all the stuff you can find in it.

Edit: The entire cycle has around 90 leitmotifs, as far as I recall. Most "highlights" compilations typically contain only a fraction of those, plus some vague statements of other motifs you can't even recognise without hearing more of the full works.

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I can strongly recommend the 2-disc set in which Derek Cooke discusses all the leitmotives and their developments. I think it's called "Introduction to The Ring", but I can't remember for sure and my copy is in England so I can't check right now. Wonderful set though, and a real eye-opener for anyone interested in understanding the Ring cycle.

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Who knows, they might have PCM tracks. And I have the CD versions anyway. Don't forget, it's an opera, it's actually meant to be seen and not just heard. Even more so since it's Wagner. Though from what I've read about Karajan's stagings, I'm not sure how much I'll like them.

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:P

Yes that's the same reaction Saxbabe had when I told her I lived next to the opera house, except she was driving a car in downtown Houston, and I was a passenger.

You think you were scared, imagine being the one in the back seat!

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